The Many Needs For Visual Guidance

TeeJet Matrix Pro GPS Guidance System

On the surface, it seems like a fairly simple question: What’s new with visual guidance systems? However, according to Mike Olson, North American sales manager for Ag Leader Technology, a completely thorough answer depends upon a number of factors. “In today’s agricultural world, the concept of visual guidance can mean different things to different users, depending on what they are using the systems for and how detailed they are,” says Olson. “The short answer is ‘lots.’”

At one extreme are those users who want visual guidance systems to simply serve as “an extra set of eyes” in the field. “Even today, there are still a lot of people in agriculture that are just getting into the whole visual guidance arena,” he says. “And this group is still learning how to adopt the technology to what they want to accomplish in the field.”

Adds Ryan Molitor, marketing supervisor, Applied Technology Division for Raven Industries, this group of users have to be taught that visual guidance isn’t that complicated to implement into their operations. “There are still many folks out there in the market that haven’t adopted visual guidance systems into their businesses because they have a perception — right or wrong — that there is too much complexity involved to get them to work properly,” says Molitor. “Their thinking seems to be that they don’t have enough acres to justify the cost.”

For this crowd, Raven offers its Cruizer II unit as an option. Built with a color touchscreen display, Cruizer II gives users a downfield three-dimensional (3D) perspective to check coverage and field lines. “Cruizer II is simple to use and offers users a quick payback,” says Molitor. “But the unit is versatile enough that users can eventually add more sophisticated features as they get more comfortable with the technology. This includes options for boom section control and automatic steering.”

Simple Needs

Ag Leader’s Olson says his company takes a similar approach with early adopters. “We tell these users that there is a lot more to precision farming than just the visual guidance part of it,” he says. “So we advise them to find a system that is simple to use at first, but offers some kind of expandability as their need for more sophisticated abilities grow.”

To these users, Ag Leader has a pair of products — the Versa and Integra display. The Versa display has a broad range of features, says Dave King, marketing manager, including guidance/steering, planter control, application control and yield monitoring standard. More sophisticated options such as autoswath and boom height control can be unlocked as needed.

“But if the user wants to upgrade to the Integra, it’s as easy as disconnecting the Versa and plugging in the Integra,” says King. “All connections are the same between the displays and file formats data can be transferred between the displays with a USB drive. There is no need to load the files into an external software package.”

TeeJet Technologies has a similar set-up with its Matrix Pro Guidance system when it comes to users. Accord­ing to Dave Brackmann, technical support specialist, the Matrix Pro is easy to use on the most basic level, but can be upgraded to run the company’s Field Pilot and BoomPilot options “easily.”

Jeff Farrar, director of marketing for Hemisphere GPS, agrees that this “adaptability approach” is a great way to introduce users to the concept of visual guidance systems without overwhelming them with technology jargon. “There are still smaller users out there that just want some visual guidance and nothing more for the time being,” says Farrar. “We are happy to help these folks find what they need, such as our Outback STS and S3 systems. But we also suggest to them that they purchase a system that allows them to make some upgrades so they have something to build upon in the future.”

The Data Quest

On the other end of the scale of visual guidance users are those that have already gotten pretty familiar with the technology side of things and are now looking to taking some “next steps” in their operations. “Let’s face it — this used to be a very hardware-driven business not too many years ago,” says Randy Wulf, regional sales manager, South-Central U.S. for Trimble. “Now, however, we are moving into more software-driven options, particularly for improved data management. These customers are very used to the technology out in the market, but now they want to be able to use it more effectively to boost their bottom lines.”

To take advantage of this trend, Trimble offers its Connected Farm system. An integrated operations management solution that combines industry-leading hardware and software to increase efficiency and effectiveness for today’s farming business, Connected Farm enables “improved management of farming operations between the field and office through wireless communication from handheld-to-office, vehicle-to-office, and now vehicle-to-vehicle,” says Wulf. “The newly released Vehicle Sync option enables vehicle-to-vehicle communication between operators in the same field, allowing them to share coverage maps, A/B guidance lines and other pertinent field data, saving time.”

Marty Cook, North American sales manager for Topcon, agrees that this need for “better data management” is a key market driver. “The biggest trend you will see in the visual guidance market in 2012 is the desire for better data transfer abilities from the systems,” says Cook. “How users out there put this together and make it work for them will be a big push this year.”

To this end, Topcon offers its X30 console as part of its System 350 as an option. The console is equipped with ISO functionality so it can “plug-and-play” with any ISO compatible implements. Last November, the company added the ability for the X30 to interface with NORAC’s boom leveling system via ISO.

Then, adds Cook, there is the X30’s large 12.1-inch touchscreen display. “This features multi-touch, drop-and-drag capabilities for the user,” he says. “In this sense, it’s a lot like another popular piece of technology out in the market today, the iPad.”

Too Much Data

However, cautions Harlan Little, business manager for Leica Geosystems, just collecting massive amounts of data isn’t what more users should be looking to do with their visual guidance systems. “I’ve never seen answers magically fall out of heaps of data,” says Little. “Lots and lots of data collection can lead to confusion for the user. They first need to ask some good questions before digging into their data management plans. I would suggest trying to find answers to a top two or three questions, not trying to figure out a top 20.”

For these users, Leica has the mojo3D guidance display. “The Leica mojo3D guidance display is a smarter precision guidance system, loaded with industry leading advances designed to help save time and money,” says Little. “It has multiple upgrade options so it can be customized to fit a user’s individual needs.”

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

TMX-2050-In-Cab-Display-Launch-Run-Screen
EquipmentGPS Auto Steer: Innovating in a Mature Market
July 17, 2017
In the world of Big IRON, GPS auto steer has closely mirrored the evolutionary path of consumer GPS Navigation systems Read More
Agronomist and farmer on iPad inspecting weeds
Precision AgPatience Needed: Lessons for Getting New Tech onto the Farm
July 6, 2017
A popular joke within the tech industry was trotted out at GAI AgTech Week in Boston, MA, speaking volumes about Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
EquipmentAgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
June 12, 2017
THRIVE AgTech, in partnership with SVG Partners and Forbes, is hosting the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit June 28-29 in Read More
Trending Articles
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an American Pastime
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Closeup
Crop InputsMissouri Lifts Dicamba Ban, Issues Stricter Application Parameters
July 14, 2017
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has lifted its barely week-old ban on new dicamba technologies, which have been at the Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Responds to Arkansas, Missouri Dicamba Bans
July 10, 2017
Monsanto, provider of the dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready Xtend crop system for soybeans and cotton, issued the following statement on Friday, Read More
Retail FacilitiesPCS-Hammond Meets Fertilizer Storage Needs with New Dome Facility
July 8, 2017
The new barrel dome facility at the PCS-Hammond Regional Distribution Center in Hammond, IN, can hold more than 100,000 tons Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Latest News
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect: Grand Grounds, Posters Parade
July 19, 2017
To celebrate their accomplishments in the area of environmental stewardship, award recipients at the 2017 Environmental Respect week spent much Read More
StewardshipHarden’s Message to ERA Winners: Do Tell Your Good Stor…
July 19, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance the Read More
StewardshipFarming Smarter Hinges on 4R Best Management Practices
July 18, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an Americ…
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
OpinionPicking Partners in the Crop Protection Market
July 17, 2017
Agriculture is a market awash in highs, lows, and everything in between. This is certainly true in the world of Read More
TMX-2050-In-Cab-Display-Launch-Run-Screen
EquipmentGPS Auto Steer: Innovating in a Mature Market
July 17, 2017
In the world of Big IRON, GPS auto steer has closely mirrored the evolutionary path of consumer GPS Navigation systems Read More
MFA-Centralia-MO
Eric SfiligojThe Resilience of Ag Retailers
July 17, 2017
After covering the ag retail market for 17 years, I think one of the most impressive character traits I’ve seen Read More
SERA-meeting
Stewardship4R Event Explores How to Minimize Phosphorus Losses
July 17, 2017
This year the Southern Extension and Research Activity (SERA) – 17; will be meeting in Oregon, OH, from August 14-17. Read More
Students Soybean Field
StewardshipCCA 4R Study Guide Available
July 17, 2017
In June the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) released the Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) 4R Nutrient Management Specialist (4R NMS) Read More
Soil soybean closeup
FertilizerThe 4Rs and Potassium
July 17, 2017
Are we meeting crop K needs? Using the 4R nutrient stewardship approach of selecting the right source at the right Read More
Soil Young Corn
StewardshipTop 10 Themes from the 2017 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sum…
July 17, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
Crop InputsWhich is Better for Soybeans: Fall or Spring Applicatio…
July 17, 2017
There have been many questions about fall versus spring applications of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to soybeans, writes Dr. T. Read More
corn-potassium-deficiency-University-of-Minnesota-Extension
Crop InputsRecognizing Potassium Deficiency Symptoms in Crops
July 17, 2017
Some crops exhibit characteristic deficiency symptoms when adequate amounts of K are not available for growth and development, according to Read More
ManagementComplexity in Agriculture: The Rise (and Fall?) of Mons…
July 17, 2017
Sometimes it seems as if the ag world is changing so fast that we can barely keep up with it Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: Illegal, Improper Use at Root of Drift Proble…
July 14, 2017
Monsanto isn’t backing down from the position that its tool — the Roundup Ready Xtend dicamba-tolerant system for soybeans and Read More
Soybean Closeup
Crop InputsMissouri Lifts Dicamba Ban, Issues Stricter Application…
July 14, 2017
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has lifted its barely week-old ban on new dicamba technologies, which have been at the Read More
Crop InputsCreate a ‘No-Mite Zone’ Around Your Fields
July 13, 2017
Explosive. That’s one way to describe the speed at which mite infestations in crops can develop under the right conditions. Read More
ABM sign
Crop InputsAdvanced Biological Marketing Awarded Competitive Grant…
July 13, 2017
Advanced Biological Marketing (ABM) has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to conduct Read More